Review: Both Ike Release and John Barera have been buzzing in the underground community for some time now. Ike with releases on Mister Saturday Night, Finale Sessions, Skudge and MOS and John with releases on Argot, Just Jack and Zakim. Now they turn to Ike's Episodes imprint to supply more of their upfront and dancefloor ready cuts. Starting out on the A side with the new wave acid sensibilities of "Looking Ahead" and the ferocious retro jack of "Lights Out" which are sure to set the night on fire. On the flip, the neon lit aesthetic continues with "Cosmic Divide" and "Winding Up" respectively, which conjure the ghosts from those dusty analogue machines to stunning effect.
Review: Ed Davenport's Counterchange imprint is back with a label compilation that demonstrates a wide variety of techno derivatives by a stellar cast. From scene legends such as UK innovator Boddika (with his hypnotic and textural epic "Broken Wave)" and elder statesman Patrik Skoog with the functional, peak-time cyclicality of "Mind Control". For more heady and atmospheric flavours, they have you covered courtesy of Puglia's Distant Echoes on the utterly sublime "Under The Influence" while Acing Seas main men Cassegrain team up with the inimitable Tin Man on the heady acid epic "Opal Stare".The harder edged, dancefloor ready weapons are provided by label head honcho Davenport on the retro, bleep driven "Fluxus", while BNJMN's abrasive "Red Tide" hammers the message home on this true beast that reaches near tribal moments.
Miro SundayMusiq - "From Behind The Corner" (8:39)
Review: Following an excellent EP from Memphis, Animals On Psychedelics returns with more weird and wonderful party fare from the outer reaches. This time it's a various artists release that brings together all the producers involved in the label so far, while also introducing BPMF to the fold with the woozy, rubbery synth shapes of "Liza On Clouds." Jane Fitz and Dom Ahtuam's Invisible Menders project presents the rolling, psyched out melodics of "Three On Three," while Memphis pushes further into experimental territory with the wonderfully fractured "Altered States." That leaves it to Miro SundayMusiq to complete the EP with the wave-meets-Italo tones of "From Behind The Corner," a perfectly noirish flourish to finish a sterling record.
Obsolete Music Technology - "High Top Fade" (6:32)
Specter - "Butters Whipped" (6:02)
Isoke - "Soul Glo" (3:10)
Damon Lamar - "Bermuda Triangle" (7:02)
Chicago Skyway - "Edged Out" (6:04)
Review: Perpetual Rhythms is already well-regarded as a bastion of quality amongst contemporary Chicago house labels, and now they've downright sealed the deal with this mammoth compilation from a stellar cast of local cats. There's too many to all list in detail here, so focusing on the highlights, Dcee leads things in with the tumbling cosmic jazz leanings of "Suavecito," Hakim Murphy teases with a spacious and daring exploration in the liminal zone between ambient and house, and Obsolete Music Technology gets invigorating with the bouncy "High Top Fade." Those tracks alone are enough to deserve your hard earned, but there's reams of other excellent forward-facing Windy City jams to sink your teeth into.
Review: Butter Sessions latest must-check release comes courtesy of Melbourne-based rising star Furious Frank, whose recent EP on Paper-Cuts was particularly impressive. "Ahora Si" is similarly inspired, with the young Australian producer placing Ivy Barkakati's "Sueno Latino" style whispered vocal over a bold, alluring blend of jangling dream house pianos, rugged acid lines, sunrise-ready chords and loose-limbed analogue beats. He provides his own dream house style interpretation (the brilliant "Frank's Sunrise Mix") before inviting Ivan to give his take on the track. He adds some tribal percussion whilst retaining the cut's inherent dreaminess before Canadian producer D. Tiffany re-imagines "Ahora Si" as a bass-heavy chunk of UKG/breakbeat house fusion.
Review: Delroy Edward's LA Club Resource finally drops its next bombshell, this time a collaborative effort that includes three newcomers, possibly riding low-key under different aliases. Riding shotgun, you got Chicago legend Gene Hunt with the minimal and freaky vibes of "OW (Drum Beat)", a woman's scream darting in and out of the stripped-back groove, and the heavily filtered "S Sonics" by the mysterious Wrecking Project. Over on the flip of the wax plate you have Blacktail's old-school lick "Now Muzik", while "Blimp Works" by Innsyter is a pumping techno gunshot that goes dirty and heavy on the percussive rattle. Raw, dirty, and messed up from the start.
Review: Bliq Records fire up the coffers for 2018 with a new jam from Iakovos, otherwise known as Lowjac and spotted in groups such as Anopolis and Deemonlover. He's a regular on Bliq, and steps up under his own name with seriously on-point club tackle for those who like their hybrid sounds. "Singers" straps some breakbeat choppage to a mellow deep techno stomp, while "Evil Flower" unfurls in a fit of edgy electro before "Adidas People" cools things down with a focused trip into straight up psych-out techno. "Hackney Tower" finishes the EP off on a wonderfully creepy tip, all skin-crawling acidic gurgles and unsettling voices to inspire paranoid glances in the club.
Review: The latest instalment in Pinkman's white label Broken Dreams series is a collaborative affair with imprint affiliate Identified Patient joining forces with vocalist Sophie Du Palais, who has previously contributed to one of the producer's other EPs. Du Palais is in full on mascara-clad minimal wave mode on trippy opener "Peaceful Panic", a throbbing fusion of raw synthesizer riffs, mind-altering arpeggio lines and crunchy drum machine hits. Her stylish spoken word vocals come to the fore on dark and psychedelic electro number "Sleep Without Rest", before Lasznikoff joins in the fun on closer "Everything is Done", a fuzzy and up-tempo workout rich in macabre, low-register riffs, incessant percussion hits and trippy, late night aural textures.
Review: Ikeaboy is the intermittent project from Damian Tubbritt, who first debuted the moniker more than ten years ago. It's been a long while since any fresh material from this deep cover curio of oddball techno hit wax, but now Wicked Bass have done the honourable thing and gathered up this excellent trio of tracks. "Shape Memory" plies a funky line in squelchy bass and jangling delay trills, while "Living In The Future" opts for a more mysterious, pad soaked trip into spooked out electro. On the B-side "Dayna" sports some forthright drum machine beats and epic sweeps of synths that only serve to confound any expectations you might have about the sound of Ikeaboy.
Review: If you're in the market for an otherworldly trip into deep space, this quietly impressive debut from I.M.J.U.S could just be the ticket. Taking the sparse and spacey feel of Drexciyan electro as its' base, the EP saunters between discordant, out-there ambient ("Insomnia"), hypnotic deep techno ("Welcome to Scientology"), wild alien funk masquerading as body-jacking techno ("After Orgie"), slow and slugy, industrial-influenced sleaze ("Untitled 6") and viciously pitched-up madness with added old school bleeps. It's a mixture that makes perfect sonic sense but also remains thrillingly surprising even after multiple listens. Certainly, we'd recommend it to those who like their electronic music tough, out-there and eccentric.
Review: Spanish electronic music sculptor IMP comes through with his second release to date, and it's on the Titan's Halo label, an imprint reserved strictly for the moodiest of electronica experimentations. "Rain Over Orion" would be the perfect companion to an 80's Manga flick, where distant melodic sequences flutter among watery atmospherics and meditative pads; the remix jobs come from Boris Divider, who chucks in a half-time beat and a flurry of machine-like noises, and Brain Machine who delivers the techno makeover in fine style.
Review: Fans of mechanical techno-not-techno sounds will be all over Minimal Wave's latest transmission from 80s French underground heroes In Aeternam Vale. Having reissued several essential lost works from the outfit last year, most notably the proto-Sandwell sound of "Highway Dark Veins", Veronica Vasicka delivers another two tracks from the vault. Stylistically mirroring that previous two track release the title track is an equally brilliant synth-techno beast which could easily pass for a Function track today, while B-side "Calling Somewhere" sounds like a cold wave version of proto-halfstep. Needless to say, the fact that these tracks are 22 years old literally left us speechless.
Review: Fresh from releasing the superb Pink Flamingos album on Dement3d, In Aternam Vale returns to Minimal Wave. This time round, he's not alone. Each of the tracks features the breathy, stylish vocals of Madrid-based Belarusian, Anneq. Her sleazy, whispered refrain is the headline attraction on the throbbing, industrial pop-meets-techno hustle of "Je Ai Dissous", while she also chats seductively over the undulating arpeggio lines, restless drums and dystopian atmospheres of "Tendencia (About Blank Version"). The ambient-leaning "V6" take of that cut is also hugely inspiring, while the Page R version of "Je Ai Dissous" is a dark, atmospheric and intoxicating celebration of legendary '80s "computer musical instrument", the Fairlight CMI.